Warning: This story contains graphic language and content that some readers may find offensive.
The chief of the Ermineskin Cree Nation is calling on the “leaders of central Alberta reserves, municipalities, and cities to condemn acts of racism and to educate themselves on the issues facing Aboriginal people, including knowledge of the Treaties,” after racist videos surfaced on social media Friday.
“Recently two videos were posted to social media showing a group of moniyawak (white man) youths threatening and mocking an unnamed Indigenous person or persons,” said Craig Makinaw in a statement sent out early Friday evening.
“This vulgar display of racism is indicative of a deeper issue in the country and in this province.”
In one of videos that was shared with APTN News and was later taken down by the person who posted it, a group of young people are in a car. The person driving is seen on the video drinking.
A text over video reads Maskwacis Four Nations Alberta, with “Do something p*ssies” over top.
“F**k you natives,” one of the unidentified people in the car yells.
It’s not clear in the video if it was recorded while driving through the community.
In the other video, a group of four unidentified teenagers are in a room. Three of them take turns addressing the recording. One boy remains silent. An American flag hangs in the background.
“F**king Natives,” says one boy. “I’ll scalp you this time how about?” says another.
The boys appear to be addressing their rage at an unnamed person.
“You’re kind of gross though with that f**king weird thing on your f**king face and all that,” says one of the boys.
The video was posted on Snap Chat and then to Facebook.
Editors Note: This video has been edited to remove the language.
The post comes at a time when social media has been inundated with racist attacks. Many of them are associated with the protests in support of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs who are fighting a pipeline that is scheduled to run through their territory in British Columbia.
Those protests have shut down Canada’s infrastructure in some areas.
It’s not clear what sparked the teenagers to make this video, but Makinaw says his people have seen and heard it before.
“The Ermineskin Cree Nation and the Nehiyawahk of Maskwacis have been subjected to this type of behavior since contact. We are still here,” wrote Makinaw. “We have been dealing with this type of behavior for longer than Ponoka, Alberta and Canada were even an idea. And we are still here. We will continue to fight for our right to exist, our right to practice our culture and speak our language. We will not condone threats of violence; we will not escalate the situation with retaliation.
“We will remain strong in our culture that has been under attack since before these systemic acts of violence against us began.”
Makinaw is calling people in his community to be calm and to take a moment to “think about their own actions.”
“These young men are clearly hurting if they feel the need to lash out. Do not seek retribution. Follow the Nehiyaw values of manatisown (respect) and kisewatsowin (kindness). Our communities are close in proximity, so we must also remember to embrace Wahkohtowin (kinship) with our neighbours.
“We have more in common than not.”
The RCMP’s Ponoka detachment says officers are investigating the videos.
More to come.